Thursday, July 12, 2007
(CBS) NEW YORK The International Association of Firefighters has gone on the offensive against "America's Mayor" Rudy Giuliani, releasing a 13-minute video that viciously rips into the former New York mayor, who has been using his leadership demonstrated on September 11th to urge people around the country to support him in his quest to become President of the United States.
The video, released early Wednesday evening, is titled "Rudy Giuliani: Urban Legend," and offers testimonials from various members of the organization and family members of firefighters lost in the terror attacks.
“We have the remains of dead heroes at the garbage dump because of Giuliani and his administration and they’re still there today and they won’t remove them,” claims FDNY Deputy Chief Jim Riches on the DVD, which was released to CBS 2 HD before its public debut.
Giuliani's campaign denounced the video, saying that the former mayor had a long history of supporting firefighters' health and safety and that the international union releasing the video only supports Democratic presidential candidates.
“Whenever I hear him talk, I want to scream out to the world and say God he’s so full of it,” adds Rosaleen Tallon, who lost her brother in the attacks.
Tallon is one of several people who lost loved ones and speaks out against Giuliani.
“I’m a conservative. I’m a member of the NRA, I voted for Giuliani, but in this instance he messed up,” says Al Regenhard, whose son was killed.
Those quotes are just the beginning of the video in which firefighters attempt to set the record straight about how they view Giuliani and his leadership on that tragic day.
“This image of Rudy Giuliani as 'America's Mayor' is a myth,” says President of Uniformed Firefighters Union, Steve Cassidy in the DVD.
The video raises many questions about the former mayor, including why firefighters used obsolete radios on September 11th that may have added to the death toll, why the search for human remains was suddenly stopped after a lost shipment of bank gold was recovered and why the emergency management bunker was on the edge of ground zero.
The firefighters say they want America to hear and see their take on the former mayor
“When America knows the decisions he made pre 9-11 and then on 9-11, I don’t think they'll ever support him for president,” Cassidy adds.
Calling the video a "mockumentary," Giuliani campaign spokesman Michael McKeon said, "The union leadership makes Michael Moore look like Edward R. Murrow."
Former New York firefighter Lee Ielpi, whose son died on Sept. 11, and former Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Richard Sheirer appeared with McKeon, calling the video full of "half-truths."
"I was there. I saw it. I experienced it," said Ielpi, who worked at ground zero for the nine-month cleanup. "I'm not going to let lies like this go."
Despite criticism from the Giuliani camp that he is a partisan Democrat, the general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Harold Schaitberger, said that Giuliani is opposed by firefighters on both sides of the aisle.
"Giuliani's biggest problem is that this video is a bipartisan condemnation of his record on 9/11," Schaitberger said.
The 13-minute video was being distributed to the union's 280,000 members, to the media and online.Still, it's too soon to assess the political fallout from the video -- it will all depend on how many people view it and take it seriously.